State, local and federal government agencies coordinate closely to ensure assets nationwide are brought to bear in a public health emergency. Local officials respond to emergencies first on the local level. When an emergency reaches across multiple communities, the emergency requires state-wide coordination and support. When an emergency demands resources beyond what a state can provide, the state can turn to other states through the Emergency Medical Assistance Compact to obtain the needed equipment and personnel. The governor may also request federal assistance. The federal government, through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, provides needed equipment and personnel to augment the state’s capability.
On a daily basis, the ASPR provides regional emergency coordinators as liaisons to state public health and emergency management agencies. Because of each REC’s strong working relationships with state personnel, the RECs understand not only the federal resources available but also the state’s level of preparedness and capabilities, and therefore can assist the state in identifying and using EMAC or federal resources in a disaster.